chapter  1
22 Pages

Native Thoughts: A Pacific Studies Take on Cultural Studies and Diaspora

ByTeresia K. Teaiwa

For thousands of years, the Pacific Ocean has been criss-crossed by the exploratory drives and competing aims of diverse peoples. Clifford notes the long-standing proposal in Pacific anthropology that the past is the future in Melanesian cosmologies. In the development of Pacific Studies, there have been various movements within the historiography that have attempted to be more inclusive of the Native and representative of native agency. But Pacific Studies, like 'the Native', is inevitably a colonial product. The scope of Pacific Studies is so immense, there is a strong tendency to zoom in and focus on only the most manageable of topics - usually defined by island, ethnic and temporal boundaries. Greg Dening has argued that the concept of the 'Pacific' as a cultural and political space is an imposed one, and that it is preferable to write about history in the Pacific than to assume that there is a bounded body of knowable Pacific History.